National News

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

New York City mayor wants disciplinary records for firefighters and correction officers posted online, just like police

It’s not just cops’ disciplinary records that should be shared with the public -- firefighters’ and correction officers’ histories should be posted online too, Mayor de Blasio said Monday. Now that the state has repealed a part of the 1976 state civil rights law known as 50-a, there is no reason for any city agency to shield relevant records from the public, de Blasio added. “I want transparency across the board,” the mayor said in response to a question from the Daily News. The NYPD for roughly 40 years had made short summaries of cops’ disciplinary records available to reporters. But in 2016, the department began to withhold even that meager information, and argued that the 50-a clause prevented them disclosing such details -- a position that was widely criticized by police reform advocates and the media.
New York Daily News

Asphalt tank erupts into flames in New Jersey, forces evacuations

VIDEO: A fire at an asphalt processing plant resulted in a hazmat situation and evacuations in Camden County, New Jersey early Tuesday. Officials said a large tank containing asphalt began to smolder around 12:45 a.m. at Blueknight Energy Partners on the 200 block of Water Street in Gloucester City. Neighbors said they woke up to a loud bang and their homes shook. Kathy Geiser said she spent all morning in her car with her son worried about their home and neighborhood. "He came running downstairs screaming that he heard an explosion and the asphalt plant around the corner caught fire," said Geiser. "It's scary. It's only a block away." The Gloucester City Fire Department responded to the blaze along with other fire crews. A hazmat unit was also on the scene.
WPVI-TV ABC 6 Philadelphia

First responders in Illinois get $3.5M in grants

A total of $3.5 million was awarded to 154 fire departments, districts and EMS providers through the Small Equipment Grant Program. The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal and Gov. Pritzker announced the OSFM received 540 applications, requesting around $12 million in funding during this grant period. The Small Equipment Grant Program was established to provide grants of up to $26,000 for the purchase of small firefighting and ambulance equipment. The purpose is to allow eligible applicants the opportunity to purchase small equipment that they may otherwise not be able to purchase, according to an announcement on Monday. Most Illinois fire departments, fire protections districts, township fire departments, and stand-alone, nonprofit ambulance service providers were eligible to apply.
WIFR-LD CBS 23 Rockford

The US has 4% of the world’s population but 25% of its coronavirus cases

The United States has long prided itself as the world's shining beacon. But its current status is a much darker one: the globe's leader in coronavirus cases. More than 125,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, and more than 2.5 million Americans have been infected. American life has been irrevocably altered by the worst pandemic in a century. And as the country struggles to reopen, cases of COVID-19 have surged again -- this time in young people and in states that had previously avoided the brunt of the virus. Here, in dollars, percentages and — most tragically — lives, is the pandemic's devastating toll on the US. The US death toll is more than twice as high as that of the country with the second-highest death rate, Brazil. That South American country has reported more than 57,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University's global case count.

Florida city touts new fire engine

PHOTOS: City officials invite area residents to join them next week in a celebration of the Fort Walton Beach Fire Department’s new fire engine. City officials used $530,000 in half-cent sales tax money to pay for the 2020 engine, which can pump 1,500 gallons of water per minute and carries a full complement of firefighting, rescue and emergency medical tools and equipment. The public celebration for the engine is set for 9 a.m. July 11 at Station 6, which is at 5 Hollywood Blvd. NE. The event will include a ceremonial wash down and push in of the vehicle, as well as a dedication to a special guest. Attendees will be required to wear face coverings, which will be provided to those who don’t bring their own. Fort Walton Beach officials said in a news release that the new engine will be fully staffed with four firefighter-EMTs and paramedics each shift and is licensed to provide advanced life support medical care.
Northwest Florida Daily News

Monday, June 29, 2020

200 Florida firefighters self-quarantine after 14 test positive for COVID-19

Every JFRD firefighter will be tested for COVID-19. Testing started Saturday after 14 tested positive for the virus. The city said more than 200 firefighter are in self-quarantine. COVID-19 tests are underway on everyone in the Jacksonville Fire Department after 14 firefighters tested positive for the virus. Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted out the news earlier Saturday evening. He said, “while this could lead to more of our first responders sidelined through quarantine, my top priority remains slowing the spread of the virus.” Right now, 214 firefighters are sidelined. There are approximately 1,550 firefighters, so about 14% of the department is off the streets right now. Action News Jax asked Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters if this is going to impact the department’s response. His response: “No. I don’t think anybody on the streets will see an altered response.”
WJAX-TV CBS 47 Jacksonville

Car slams into California fire station, yet again, injuring firefighter

A car slammed into the living area of a Rialto fire station Friday night, June 26, almost striking a firefighter and leaving a stew of smashed furniture, broken glass and vehicle fluid behind as it reversed out of the building. The firefighter, an engineer who is a veteran of 15 years, was sitting about 3 feet from where the front quarter of the car went into the building, Battalion Chief Cory Cisneros said Saturday. The firefighter was treated at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton for minor injuries and released. He is expected to spend two weeks recovering at home, Cisneros said Saturday. “If it was a foot to the north, we’d be having a funeral,” Cisneros said. Cisneros said the driver appeared to be about 19. He also was hospitalized with minor injuries, Cisneros said. Rialto police could not be reached for comment on the circumstances of the crash Saturday. The station remained open Saturday, Cisneros said.
The Sun

Proposed changes in 911 ID numbers leave some New York fire chiefs fuming

A conflict is brewing between the Oneida County Department of Emergency Services and a handful of local fire chiefs who do not want to give up their 3-digit identification numbers. The county 9-1-1 Center is planning to switch from number identifications to plain language in order to better serve an impending upgrade to a digital radio system. But the local chiefs say they do not want to give up their 3-digits because of tradition and other technical concerns. “There’s a lot of history that goes with the identification,” said Western Fire Chief Michael Anania, who has been ‘650’ for more than 20 years. Anania said he has no plans to change that identification, and he is also worried about what will happen if every chief in the county suddenly becomes “car one.” “If you go to a fire scene, when somebody talks on the radio, the majority of the time the first part of the transmission gets cut off. So if we have six ‘car ones’ there, they’re all the same identify. But if you have six different chief numbers there, they’re individuals. It’s less confusing at a fire scene.”
Rome Sentinel

Allerio Mobile Hub certified for use on FirstNet, other LTE carrier networks

Startup Allerio announced that its easy-to-use Mobile Hub broadband platform designed for EMS use and the healthcare community has been certified for use by the FCC and multiple U.S. carriers—FirstNet/AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and U.S. Cellular. “One of the unique things about this is that there’s one button on it—it turns the device on, and it turns the device off,” Allerio CEO TJ Kennedy said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications. “Everything else—setting up the unit on the multiple networks, engaging with VPNs and everything else, from a security standpoint—happens automatically for you. There’s nothing you have to do.” Introduced last fall and available immediately, the Allerio Mobile Hub has been redesigned to be even more portable while maintaining the ability support three LTE broadband connections, Kennedy said. Weighing 1.96 pounds, the Mobile Hub is 8.9 inches by 7.4 inches, with a thickness of just 1.2 inches, based on the company’s specification sheet about the Mobile Hub.
IWCE's Urgent Communications

CDC expands list of people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday expanded its list of risk factors that make people more likely to develop severe illness or die from COVID-19. The update comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections rises to record levels in the United States, driven by alarming spikes in Florida, Texas and other states across the South and West. The agency also said that pregnant women might be at higher risk, though more research is needed on that and a number of other underlying health conditions that may affect risk. The chance of severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with older adults at highest risk, but the CDC noted that the risk doesn't begin suddenly at age 65. Instead, "people in their 50s are at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 40s. Similarly, people in their 60s or 70s are, in general, at higher risk for severe illness than people in their 50s. The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older."
CBS News

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